What’s happening with Avid? Will it fail or be bought? I came across a thoughtful article addressing these and other aspects of Avid’s latest financial crisis, posted on the blog portion of Screenlight’s site. Chris Potter wrote it; he’s a principal in this Toronto-based company that allows realtime video viewing, sharing, and feedback.
Potter has come up with a reasoned critique (you have to see ‘reasoned’ as a word of praise here, as the NLE world can be as contentious as the Mac vs. PC worldviews) of the startling news that Avid postponed its fourth quarter 2012 earnings release. The reason for that is posed in the typical convoluted language used in such situations when clarity is not desirable.
(According to Potter, the reason given by Avid management for the delay was “to provide additional time for the Company to evaluate its current and historical accounting treatment related to bug fixes, upgrades and enhancements to certain products which the Company has provided to certain customers.”)
This postponed reckoning takes on added meaning when you know that the Tewksbury, Mass.-based company fired CEO Gary Greenfield on February 11th. He was replaced with board member Louis Hernandez who, like Greenfield, doesn’t have any direct experience in the industry he’s to rescue.
To add to the churn, Avid’s board and directors now have a pack of ambulance chasing litigation firms piling on, including Bronstein, Gewirtz & Grossman; Faruqi & Faruqi; Block & Leviton…well, that list just goes on and on.
If you’d like to read a sour view of recent Avid management by a claimed past employee who heads his plaint with the phrase “Like the Navy in “The Cain Mutiny”…designed by geniuses, run by idiots”, you can check out this posting on Glassdoor. This forum page on Creative Cow, meanwhile, tackled the potential harm of Avid’s economic malaise, although the posts don’t seem to have been updated since last August. It was this past July when Avid announced it was selling its consumer product line as well as laying off 20-percent of its workforce. Looking over a chart of the past year of Avid’s stock isn’t very heartening either.
There is a lot more in the article that makes for chilling reading if you happen to rely on Avid NLE software for your creative life, as do many feature editors. Potter even proposes that the software, once key to the company’s very definition, has slid in importance when he describes the software as “a loss leader that brings people in the door so that Avid can sell them storage, collaborative workflow products, and professional services.”
David Weiss at website Sonic Scoop however posted an upbeat inteview with new Avid CEO Louis Hernandez. While this NYC-oriented pro music site naturally focused on the future prospects of Pro Tools, Weiss does elicit comments such as Hernandez’ plans for growth, becoming “operationally excellent”, rebuilding the Avid community, and reinforcing Avid’s role as a “thought leader”. In an earlier, NAMM timed piece, Weiss offered up his thoughts on the CEO changeover.
Beth Marchant over at StudioDaily offers up a lighter article on “Six Things You Might Not Know About Avid’s New CEO, Louis Hernandez Jr.”
Check out this mix of news and let us know what you think of Avid’s chances for its continued position as one of the three top NLE makers.